When you need to transfer a private number plate, there are two steps that need to be completed. Firstly, the plate must be removed from the donor vehicle, unless it is already held on a retention certificate. Secondly, the private registration must be assigned to a recipient van, motorcycle or car.
How to transfer a private number plate
Removing a private number plate from a car and assigning it to another vehicle are procedures that involve informing the DVLA.
Removing a plate from a vehicle
Checking the vehicle’s eligibility is the first stage in removing a private number plate, as it must comply with the conditions set out by the DVLA. It should have road tax or be subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). It must also possess an MOT certificate and be DVLA registered.
The car, van or other vehicle should be able to move under its own power and must also be available for inspection in case this is required by the DVLA.
When applying online, the registration might be removed immediately, while a postal application can take up to a fortnight to complete. When removing a private plate, you must either reassign it to another vehicle or obtain a V778 retention certificate to protect your rights to that registration. The DVLA currently charges an £80 fee for the removal.
How to transfer a private number plate from retention to a vehicle
If the number plate is already held on a retention certificate, or V778, then it’s a simple process to transfer the plate to a vehicle as long as the DVLA’s conditions are satisfied. These include having an MOT and car tax, as well as the ability for the vehicle to move via its own power. It should also be available for inspection.
How to transfer a private number plate to a car
There is also a DVLA rule stating that you cannot use any private number plate that might be misleading due to making the car seem newer than it actually is. For example, you cannot use a “17” plate on an “05” car, or an “03” plate on a car that originally had a “Y” prefix.
You can apply for the transfer online or by post. When applying online, the private plate could be immediately assigned, whereas a postal application may take up to two weeks. Applying for the assignment of the number plate is free.
How long to transfer a private number plate?
The removal and assignment steps may each take up to a fortnight, so if you are doing both by post, then you should allow around a month. It does depend on how you apply, as online applications often result in immediate removal or assignment when an inspection is not required.
How to transfer a private number plate online
Transferring a private number plate online is by far the easiest way to complete the process. Assuming a vehicle inspection is not required by the DVLA, the transfer may be completed immediately, meaning you don’t have to wait to remove a number plate or assign a new one.
To remove a number plate online, you will only need the vehicle’s log book (V5C), and you must be the owner of the vehicle.
When assigning a private plate online, you must have an online reference number, a V778 retention certificate, or a V750 entitlement document. You can apply via the DVLA website between 7:00am and 7:00pm, and the private number plate may be immediately assigned if the car does not need an inspection. You therefore need to have new number plates ready to put on.